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Still soaring at 83

Schenectady man sky high as he earns glider license

Saratoga Soaring Association members congratulate Dr. Robert Mitchell on earning his FAA Private Pilot (Glider) License on Friday, Nov. 4, at the Saratoga County Airport. From left, Fred Woll, tow pilot; Jim Morzillo, FAA Examiner; Pam Grandin, student pilot; Robert Mitchell; and Doug Hatch, Mitchell’s endorsing instructor and mentor.

Saratoga Soaring Association members congratulate Dr. Robert Mitchell on earning his FAA Private Pilot (Glider) License on Friday, Nov. 4, at the Saratoga County Airport. From left, Fred Woll, tow pilot; Jim Morzillo, FAA Examiner; Pam Grandin, student pilot; Robert Mitchell; and Doug Hatch, Mitchell’s endorsing instructor and mentor. Submitted photo

— Keeping the ground in sight is also a good idea too, he said.

“There is a particular emphasis on staying within reach of fields of possible landing places since there is no engine and the plane has to come down some time,” he said. “Decisions that you make are extremely important so it is really an exercise in judgment and planning ahead and at all times being fully aware of your situation.”

Mitchell’s FAA exam was a three-part test involving a written exam, oral exam and flying demonstration, which had an in-flight emergency imposed by the examiner unknown to Mitchell.

To simulate an emergency the examiner, Saratoga Soaring Association member Jim Morzillo, jammed the air brake on, making it unusable for regulating speed during the final landing approach.

Describing his draw to flight was a little hard for Mitchell, but he said fellow fliers know the feeling.

“I just have a passion for flying, I would say it is a passion more than just a hobby,” he said. “Other people who have the flying bug know what I am talking about. It is a kind of a passion that some people have. Everybody dreams flying dreams but to actually be able to do it and be up there is a wonderful experience.”

Last Saturday, he also flew his 24-year-old grandson Shane Mitchell, which he said was his third passenger.

“There may be other experiences like flying, but for me it is the best experience,” he said.

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